Utah football: Jordan Wynn feeling better but Utes' offense still ailing
Jordan Wynn and Utah coach Kyle Whittingham did their best to assure Utah's fan base that all is fine with Wynn as the quarterback returned to the field Friday after missing two days of practice with the flu.
Wynn looked OK. The offense? It still looked a little sick.
Utah fans will be able to tell the offense is healthy when the defense is the one running laps at the end of practice, Wynn pointed out Friday.
"That will be when we are over the hump," he said. "That will be one of the best practice days ever in Utah history."
Unfortunately for the offense, that day wasn't the case Friday as errors continued to plague the Utes in red-zone situations. Friday's situational drill featured a bobbled snap and a pass intercepted by corner Mo Lee.
No surprise it was the offense's turn to run again.
Now, with just one scrimmage left before the Utes close camp and begin prep work for Montana State, the offense is feeling pressure to clean up the mistakes.
"We are getting close offensively," Whittingham said. "The things that are killing us are self-inflicted illegal procedures, false starts, [center-quarterback] exchanges, the things that happen that don't even allow you to get the play under way.
"When we get the play under way, we're not bad. But we have to cut down on the administrative penalties, we call them. Things that have nothing to do with the play. It is tough enough to have an offense go 70, 80 yards a drive being clean, but when you put yourself in 1st-and-15, 2nd-and-15, those are drive-killer type things. We have to eliminate those."
Those pesky turnovers mean execution will be the emphasis for Saturday's scrimmage.
As for Wynn, being limited in throws due to his recovery from shoulder surgery, as well as missing practice with the flu, has him frustrated. But he maintains that he and the offense are on track.
"There is still a lot of time," he said. "We are fine. We have to cut down on small mistakes, false starts, stuff like that."
Following practice, Whittingham tried once again to assure fans that Wynn is healthy. Wynn also threw in Friday's afternoon session, the first time he participated in both sessions in a single day.
"All I can say is to take it at face value," Whittingham said of Wynn. "There is nothing we are trying to hide â¦ or hush up. The bottom line is two-a-days is a grind and when you are throwing the ball twice a day as often as we are throwing the ball and you are coming off surgery, there is a chance to develop some chronic soreness, so it was precautionary.
"When we get into single days in season mode, that starts Monday, then hopefully we will have Jordan every day and no issues of worry or overuse. As far as his throwing, there is nothing wrong, just being careful. We don't want to wear him out."
The Utes have added a walk-on kicker, Kenny Golladay, a senior transfer from Eastern Arizona College, to the roster. Gone are safety Chris Washington, a sophomore safety out of Layton, whose continuous shoulder injuries most likely have ended his career, and Jamal Smith, a sophomore corner out of Oxnard H.S. in California, who is transferring to Sacramento State.
"He wants the opportunity to get on the field as soon as possible," Whittingham said of Smith. "He and I talked, and he has been a great teammate here. He is a guy who is leaving on very good terms and he just wants a chance to get on the field. Here it would be a year, at least, away from being in the mix, and he feels he has a great opportunity at Sac State to go back and play receiver. It's his most natural position, and we wish him well."
Also of note
The Utes received good news on defensive lineman Lei Talamaivao, who has been out with a foot injury. Further evaluations revealed nothing serious and he is expected to be out for two to three weeks. â¦ The Utes will hold a FanFest on Saturday, Aug. 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium. All 18 of the university's varsity teams will participate in the event. Parking and admission are free.
What we learned • Utah's offense continues to struggle in its situational drills even with the return of starting quarterback Jordan Wynn.
Who was hot • Receiver Dres Anderson and running back Karl Williams both have solid days again Friday.
Who was out • Two who might be forced to sit out Saturday's scrimmage are receiver DeVonte Christopher and offensive lineman John Cullen. Christopher sprained his ankle Friday afternoon and Cullen may have suffered a concussion.